hero image

Holiday breaks are very important for most college students who see it as a time to get home and reconnect with family. However, for most students who have no home to go to, that is a different case, and they have to contend with the realities of campuses closing, leaving them in untenable positions. As a result, some schools have come up with ways of helping homeless students with shelter during holidays, but that is not enough.

Housing dilemma for homeless students during holidays

There are few options for homeless students during holidays as Rashel Olalde, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, recounts. She says that last year she didn’t have a dorm scholarship for the whole year, and during the summer and winter closures, she was stranded, and it was difficult to find shelter. There are normally few on-campus shelter options during winter holidays, but they are normally expensive for homeless students.

Usually, most homeless students get housed in dorms for a reduced cost or free during school, making it possible to attend classes without any social safety net or support. However, when the campuses close, the student are thrown into the streets and sleep in cars or couch surfing, which contributes to an increase in college dropouts.

Strategies to offer housing during holiday

Therefore colleges and universities are being asked to ensure homeless students get an opportunity to thrive. They can do this by enacting policies that guarantee access to shelter and provision of other needs to vulnerable students. Young people like Olalde have been speaking up asking colleges to offer students housing during academic breaks. Some universities have, and colleges have started adopting various strategies to help homeless students. Providing year-round campus housing for homeless students is central to having a successful approach.  

For instance, Philadelphia’s West Chester University is offering accommodation for homeless and unaccompanied students through the Promise Program. Also, Kennesaw State University in Georgia is offering comprehensive housing support to homeless students. Tacoma Community College, in collaboration with Tacoma Housing Authority, is also offering housing subsidies to homeless students.